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Accid Anal Prev. 1996 Jul;28(4):511-17.

The scope and nature of the drowsy driving problem in New York State.

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Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, University at Albany, State University of New York 12205-2604, USA.


A telephone survey was conducted of a random sample of New York State licensed drivers to determine the prevalence and circumstances of drowsy driving. Based on the survey responses, 54.6% of the drivers had driven while drowsy within the past year; 22.6% had ever fallen asleep at the wheel without having a crash, 2.8% had ever crashed when they fell asleep, and 1.9% had crashed when driving while drowsy. Of the reported crashes due to driving while drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel, 82.5% involved the driver alone in the vehicle, 60.0% occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. 47.5% were drive-off-road crashes, and 40.0% occurred on a highway or expressway. Multiple regression analysis suggested that the following driver variables are predictive of an increased frequency of driving drowsy: demographic characteristics (younger drivers, more education, and men); sleep patterns (fewer hours of sleep at night and greater frequency of trouble staying awake during the day); work patterns (greater frequency of driving for job and working rotating shifts); and driving patterns (greater number of miles driven annually and fewer number of hours a person can drive before becoming drowsy).

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